Solo: A Star Wars Story director of photography, Bradford Young, has been working on a passion project, Back and Song, after exiting Space Jam 2. He recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the project.
Back and Song is Blount Moorhead and Young’s multi-screen film installation using new and archival images to celebrate healthcare practitioners in the African-American community. It runs Oct. 5-27 in the Girard College Chapel and is a co-production of Philadelphia Contemporary, a cross-disciplinary art organization, and Thomas Jefferson University.
A montage of everyday black family life at rest and on the move, Back and Song includes moments of transcendence and tranquility as well as alternative healing and body tuning through ritual, dance, sound therapy, meditation and well-being. Moorhead and Young’s fourth collaboration, it was spurred by a 2016 study of 222 white medical students and residents that revealed nearly half of them believed black patients experience less pain than others. Young is hardly surprised at the results of the study. One of his earliest experiences with the medical establishment was when he accompanied his HIV-positive mother to the doctor, who blithely said of her condition, “So, it looks like you’ve been kissing Magic Johnson.”
“I’m a 14-year-old kid already petrified, worrying about my mother’s mortality, and on top of that we get this doctor who felt like he didn’t need to show bedside manner cause he was looking at a black woman,” says Young, an Oscar nominee for 2016’s Arrival (the first African American ever nominated in the category) and an Emmy nominee for the Netflix limited series When They See Us. “In the black community and the African diaspora there’s a well-fortified history of health practitioners who have tried to suffuse their own social justice into their medical practice — community birthing projects, midwife and women’s health practitioners providing free birthing services to women.”